Prop 8 couples ’anxious’ to marry
It has been nearly three years since they sued the state of California in order to secure the right to marry. For much of that time, as their lawsuit has wended its way through the courts, they have put their wedding plans on the back burner as the legal wrangling took center stage.
Now, with a second federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban against same-sex marriage, the two plaintiff couples at the heart of the historic case are longing to walk down the aisle.
"We are anxious to get married before our youngest sons. They graduate high school next year and will begin their lives as adults," said Kristin Perry, after whom the Perry v. Brown federal case is named.
Sandra Stier, her partner of 12 years, added, "Marriage is something we have been waiting a really long time for and, as Kris said, something we can’t wait to happen."
The Berkeley residents addressed a packed press conference Tuesday night in San Francisco following a 2-1 decision from a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said there is no legitimate reason for California to deny marriage rights to same-sex partners.
Joining the couple for the first time before the media were their 17-year-old fraternal twins Spencer and Elliot. Speaking on behalf of his brother, Spencer Perry said that living under the anti-gay marriage ban has meant that his family is not considered normal.
"Marriage equality is the next step for finally showing California that my parents are equal, that my family is equal," he said. "This ruling means that in the eyes of the government my family is finally normal. We don’t have to prove that we love each other."
The other plaintiff couple, Los Angeles residents Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo, also expressed their desire to be married soon. Katami introduced Zarillo, his partner of 11 years, as "my co-plaintiff, my partner, he is my best friend and he is my husband-to-be."
Zarillo said he hoped that due to the lawsuit "millions of other Americans will very soon be able to marry the person they love."
He added that, "finally," he and Katami "will be able to stand before our family and friends and make the one promise we have all longed for, the promise of love and commitment that we will honor for the rest of our lives."
Although the majority opinion stopped short of stating that LGBT couples are guaranteed marriage under the U.S. Constitution, it did uphold a district court ruling from 2010 that struck down Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage California voters passed in 2008.